Downtown Marietta has always been an epicenter of holiday cheer in the Mid-Ohio Valley, but this year the Marietta Main Street Hometown Holidays Committee went above and beyond to make downtown merry and bright for residents and visitors alike. With twinkling lights on lamp posts and horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping on brick streets, Marietta could easily be mistaken for the set of a holiday Hallmark movie.

“From an expanded line-up of seasonal events to decorated lamp posts, members of the Hometown Holidays Committee are dedicated to bringing the spirit of the holiday season to life for both the general enjoyment of our community and the financial support of our small business community downtown,” said Cristie Thomas, Interim Executive Director of Marietta Main Street.

Coordinated shop local campaigns, First Friday: Moonlight Madness, Santa Houses, Holiday Loft Tours, the Merry-Etta Christmas Parade, downtown wreaths and garlands, the City of Marietta Tree Lighting and Christmas tree, and more all fall under the umbrella of what the volunteers on Marietta Main Street’s Hometown Holidays Committee dedicate their hours, efforts, and resources to year ‘round.

This year, the Holiday Tree Walk was installed for the first time the week of Thanksgiving. The installation, while lead by the Hometown Holidays Committee, was the result of numerous community organizations coming together. From Greenleaf Landscapes who delivered and installed the trees, to Marietta Electrical JATC who make sure all of the décor and trees stayed lit, to Marietta Morning Rotary who decorated the gazebo and installed the standing decorations, to the nearly 50 area families, businesses, and organizations who adopted and decorated the trees, it was truly a collaborative effort.

“Each tree sponsor really made this experience their own.”

“The response to our very first Holiday Tree Walk has truly warmed our hearts,” said Thomas. “Each tree sponsor really made this experience their own, adding unique community-oriented spins to their designs. GoPacks, the City of Marietta, Teri Ann’s, and the Marietta Community Foundation, to name a few, each used their trees as giving trees and encouraged folks in our community to take what they need and/or provide for others in ways only our local community can.”

The Marietta Community Foundation sponsored a tree, seeing the opportunity as a fun and creative way to engage the community during the holiday season, said Mason Beuhring, the Foundation’s Communications and Program Services Director.

“By hanging Salvation Army’s Angel Tree tags on our tree, we provided a great opportunity for others to give back to those who need it most,” said Beuhring. “We had a total of nine tags taken by members of the community!”

Some community members decorated their trees in memory of a loved one. Others created décor that reflected the mission of their organization or their business. “Bird Watcher’s Digest adorned their tree in the spirit of the focus of their mission – birds- and used bird-friendly ornaments that doubled as feeders,” said Thomas.

The idea was inspired by Gallipolis In Lights, now in its seventh year. “We took a road trip to Gallipolis,” said Debbie Cline, chair of the Hometown Holidays Committee, “and were in awe once the sun went down and the lights came on.” Cline, along with fellow committee members, spoke with Shari Rocchi, lead coordinator for Gallipolis in Lights to learn more about the logistics. “We learned so much about running electricity, LED lights, and dealing with the outdoor elements,” said Cline.

The committee partnered with the Marietta Electrical JATC and the City of Marietta to make sure the trees stay lit throughout the holiday season. “We are very thankful for Daryl Jones with the JATC and the City for their help,” said Cline. “We are hoping to grow the Holiday Tree Walk each year with their help.”

Surrounding the gazebo in festive splendor, the trees provide a perfect backdrop for Santa’s visits each Saturday and Sunday. While families wait for their turn to see Santa, they are able to enjoy the decor lovingly displayed on each tree, making this time of year just a little extra special.

You can view all of the trees and their sponsors on the Guide to the Holiday Tree Walk.